Oxford West & Abingdon Liberal Democrats hosted a sell-out panel discussion and Q&A session in Botley this week to discuss what happens now following the EU referendum. Local councillor Judy Roberts and prospective county council candidate Jonathan Adcock were joined by Catherine Bearder MEP and Layla Moran, our prospective parliamentary candidate, for a lively and interesting discussion.
Layla talked about the devastating referendum result and how education and income inequality affected how people voted.
The referendum campaign should have been about opportunity and broadening horizons, but too many people in the UK do not have life chances that make travel, work or studying abroad possible. Something has to change and the EU referendum was the route through which people expressed that view. The result re-emphasises how we continue to need to tackle inequality and work for opportunity for all.
Jonathan works in the construction sector and explained how his industry is an indicator of how the wider economy is doing. Only two months since the referendum, both public and private firms are already feeling the pinch and there is great concern about what will happen over the next two years. So much funding for apprenticeships and new infrastructure projects come from the EU via the LEP we need to find new ways of securing investment.
Catherine explained that other EU countries are upset about the referendum result and are concerned about losing the positive input of the UK to the wider EU community. Our policing, security, trade, environmental policies and so much more are entwined with Europe and it will take a huge amount of time and expertise to negotiate hundreds of new treaties and the trade agreements that the UK will need to compete on a global scale.
One positive is that people are increasingly interested in politics and looking for ways to make their voices heard and to be politically active. The LibDems remain committed to remaining part of Europe and protecting the rights of EU nationals living in the UK as well as UK nationals living abroad. We all have a role to play in keeping up the pressure and holding the government to account.
Cllr Emily Smith
Jonathan Adcock, Catherine Bearder MEP, Layla Moran and Cllr Judy Roberts.